21 dead in latest cholera outbreak in Nigeria's Lagos


Last year WHO said Africa is witnessing an exponential rise in cholera cases. [Xinhua]

At least 21 people have been reportedly killed so far in an outbreak of cholera in Nigeria's southwestern state of Lagos, an official said Thursday.

Kemi Ogunyemi, a special advisor on health to the state government, told reporters that at least 401 cases have been reported this month alone due to the outbreak in the country's economic hub, calling for a concerted effort to fight the scourge.

Ogunyemi attributed the surge in the number of suspected cases and fatalities to the recently held Eid-el Kabir celebration gatherings in the state, saying the "rise in cases was anticipated."

The Lagos government has continued to "collect samples of water sources, food, and beverages to identify the source of contamination," she said, adding that surveillance activities in local communities had been intensified, particularly in the affected local government areas.

Cholera is a highly virulent disease characterized in its most severe form by a sudden onset of acute watery diarrhea that can lead to death by severe dehydration.

Earlier this month, the health authorities in Lagos, the most populous city in Nigeria, issued an alert on the cholera outbreak in the state, citing "an excess report of severe gastroenteritis cases."

On June 15, Akin Abayomi, the health commissioner in Lagos, told reporters that laboratory tests had confirmed that the outbreak was due to cholera with the identified strain being highly aggressive and contagious, with potential for widespread transmission.

The cholera outbreak is frequently reported in Nigeria due to the lack of potable water supply, especially in densely populated areas.